I met a parent who had an only child who was a boy of about eight years. Her neighbours, friends and relations were always accusing her of pampering her child. One day, her child showed gross disobedience to her instructions before her visitors who all yelled at her and told her it was all her fault. Among her visitors was an elderly man who stayed behind to emphasise the fact that she needed to firmly and urgently correct the child’s wrong ways. She said that she was so embarrassed that she made up her mind to intensify her efforts at correcting her child. As at the time we met, she had already bought more canes and the battle had commenced.
She told me a story of how she arrived home one day and met a neighbour flogging her son. She said that she immediately got her own and flogged the hell out of him. At the time we met, she was very confused because her son had become withdrawn and very uncooperative.
Unfortunately, this parent had very little understanding of what was required to correct a child or achieve discipline in a child. Those who criticised her were not explicit in their diagnosis and recommendations. My discussion with her revealed that she was indeed pampering her child! Her over-indulgence with the child was such that the child had no opportunity of learning to be responsive to the needs of his parents and others around him. The boy was allowed to develop an insatiable desire for attention from his parents all the time. His parents found it difficult to refuse his requests. He was therefore not able to learn the noble principles of scarcity of resources and selfless service to humanity. He was insensitive to the reality of the negative consequences of his actions. Her relationship with her son showed major symptoms of an unhealthy parenting relationship.
It was obvious that she actually needed to reduce her caning and increase her knowledge and application of the right parenting approach. Once over-indulgence is removed and good correction skill is applied, normalcy will return. As always, she needs to be prayerfully more passionate with her parenting role by loving more, listening more and getting closer to her child to endlessly support his balanced personality development.
-Uchenna N. Nduka